Telangana Government renders GHMC poorer by over ₹5,500 crore

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) headquarters near Tank bund in Hyderabad. File

Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) headquarters near Tank bund in Hyderabad. File | Photo Credit: MOHAMMED YOUSUF

More than 90 State Government entities and departments owe the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation a whopping ₹5,258 crore by way of property tax dues for the durations ranging between a few months to over 25 years.

Accumulated arrears from the properties of the State Government undertakings account for another ₹306 crore.

The fact and figures was shared by GHMC in response to a query under the RTI Act by the Forum for Good Governance (FGG), which showed that the Medical & Health department has an unpaid property tax bulk at ₹1185 crore for over 23 years, carving the biggest dent into the revenues of the civic body.

During the recent GHMC Council meeting, Commissioner D. S. Lokesh Kumar shared the figures and said the corporation’s hands are tied when it comes to taking action as the major portion of the dues lay with Education and Health departments, which are at the core of public services that cannot be interrupted.

However, that does not explain why the department of Prohibition & Excise has an accumulated debt of ₹895 crore for over 21 years, or police stations, a debt of ₹420 crore, both of which are way higher than the ₹385 crore owed by the educational institutions.

At ₹392 crore, the dues from the State Secretariat for the past 13 years too are slightly higher than what the educational institutions owe to the GHMC.

Mentioning the figures in a letter to the Chief Secretary, the FGG wondered how the Prohibition & Excise department which earns an annual revenue ₹35,000 crore is unable to pay the property tax arrears.

For the local bodies, main revenue comes from property tax, and ordinary citizens are prompt in payment of the same, the letter reminded.

The huge response to the recent Early Bird scheme by the civic body is a proof, whereby the assessees paid ₹750 crore against a targeted ₹600 crore. Government is setting a bad example to the law abiding citizens by defaulting on the tax arrears for so long, the letter said.

The government is virtually starving GHMC not only by defaulting on tax payments, but also by not devolving the GHMC’s share as per recommendations from the State Finance Commission.

Due to this reason, GHMC is unable to provide the citizens basic minimum services, the letter said, and requested the Chief Secretary to issue necessary instructions to all the department heads.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 1:28:40 pm |